Live Blog of Jonesboro Hearing

9:40 AM

Judge Teat now sworn in as a witness. Attorney for defendants, Louis Scott now asking questions about following mayor. Teat says he did not, nor ever “have” the mayor followed.

9:45 AM

Teat says someone told him he had seen mayor in Texas, but he did not see him. Asked if he gave instructions to that person, Teat said he did not.

9:45 AM

Scott now asking Teat about his wife being officer of Jackson Parish Bank. Teat says he does not inquire as to town’s banking business.

9:47 AM

Culpepper now asking Teat is he a party to the suit – Teat says no.

Sam Lamkin now taking the stand.

9:50 AM

Lamkin noting the correct spelling of his name. Scott questioning Lamkin about his remarks at council about mayor being seen in Texas. Lamkin won’t say who told him. Judge directs Lamkin to answer – says it was Jimmy Teat.

Culpepper asking Lamkin what mayor’s answer was – he said it was to get hotel for town. Culpepper asks Lamkin if the mayor had reported to the council about hotel. Lamkin says no.

Culpepper now closing – says no memorandum had been filed and motion should be denied.

Memorandum received this morning and allowed in court.

Scott now closing – says the evidence shows “some degree of prejudice” by Teat and should be recused.

9:55 AM

Culpepper rebuttal – reciting law as to reasons for recusal – says law is specific – citing cases. Says judge is not prejudiced.

10:00 AM

Judge now speaking – Glenn Fallin. Judge says no reason for recusal because of wife working at bank. Now talking about the mayor in Texas. Says not grounds for recusal. No evidence of “surveillance.”

Judge citing case law on recusal. Says must have evidence.

Judge rules that Teat shall NOT be recused.

10:05 AM

Court now in recess.

11:05 AM
Court back in session for Essmeir v Jonesboro, Teat presiding. Doug Stokes called as witness by Culpepper.

11:10 AM

Asking about ordinance #700, was it valid. Now asking about amendment to 700 and was it advertised. Says he didn’t know it was to be amended. Powell-Lexing objects, says documents must be cited. Sustained.

Culpepper now showing documents for amended budget – Stokes says he did not help prepare it.

11:15 AM

Culpepper asking did Stokes say to mayor it was ok for anyone to make purchases as long as it was budgeted. Stokes claiming atty/client privilege. Stokes says he doesn’t recall say that it was ok for “anyone” to make purchase, but that was ok for the purchase to be made.

11:20 AM

Stokes talking about proposed settlement on first suit. Scott asking whether settlement was seen by mayor. Now asking whether budget was published and made available for public review.

Scott asking about 3/8 meeting and public comment session. Stokes says he wasn’t at public hearing.

11:25 AM

Scott asking about “budget hearing.” Stokes telling that it is a “public comment” period. Scott saying that law allows for change at comment period. Stokes says that is not “customary.”

11:30 AM

Scott now asking Stokes about qualifications – says he’s an “expert” in municipal law. Culpepper questioning relevance. Judge agrees – “let’s move on.”

Culpepper asks did he prepare #700 and #701. Says did not draw up #700, but did draw up #701.

11:35AM
Culpepper asks what is “ordainted” and Powell-Lexing objects. Judge sustains.

Renee Stringer now being sworn.

11:40 AM

Culpepper asking about recording of meeting – Stringer says she furnished said recording to him. Now talking about budget amendment motion made by Cottonham. Stringer says she didn’t know about amendment.

Now talking about when she receives documents from town clerk.

Asking about “misc. reimbursements” of $176K. Stringer says she doesn’t know about that.

11:45 AM

Cross by Scott. Asking about budget passed in Sept 2010. Asking was it late. Stringer says yes, didn’t get information timely. Scott asking about mayor pay raise at 3/8 meeting and had it been brought up before. Stringer says she voted against because “we didn’t know how much money the town had.” Says she wouldn’t vote for it “in this economy.”

11:50 AM

Asking about public hearing and were people allowed to speak. Said yes. Said about thirty minutes of discussion. Scott asking who prepared budget, says mayor. Scott asking have you seen an ordinance amended prior to adoption. Says she doesn’t recall.

Scott asks was she aware of first lawsuit. Now talking about exec. session where discussed. Asking about city atty and whether he was at meetings. Scott asks do council vote different from each other. Yes.

Scott now asking about amendment to #700 and what happened and how much discussion. Stringer asked for clarification on what was being voted on.

12 Noon

Stringer asked if budget passed and was she aware. Yes. Asked about hand written document (amendment). Teat says question has been asked and answered.
Now asked if she voted against both ordinances. She said yes to best of her recollection.

12:01 PM

court in recess.

1:35 PM
Court back in session. Stringer back on stand, Scott questioning. Asked was she intimidated by lawsuit – says she voted no because of economic conditions. Stringer finished w/testimony for now.

1:40 AM

Judge now saying that LA RS 39:1307 controls regarding budget. Discussions w/defense atty as to more witnesses on that point.

1:45 PM

Powell-Lexing saying that they want to ask plaintiffs about the rest of the suit. Says plaintiffs should be accountable regarding accusations.

Judge says all future testimony should apply only to 39:1307. Judge threatening Powell-Lexing w/contempt. Says she can object, but that’s it.

1:55 PM

Judge says testimony will be limited to actions on 3/8 regarding actions on budget. Court needs to rule on that initially, he says.

2:00 PM

Judge: “Time is running out on this budget year.”

Judge: “I’m the only one accused of doing something wrong, which was unfounded.”

2:05 PM

10 minute recess.

2:25 PM

Back in session. Defense calls plaintiff Dalton Cruise. Scott asks has he been on city council. Asks about initial lawsuit in February.

2:35 PM

Scott asking why he sued only council members who took office in January. Says they’re the ones who raised mayor’s salary.

Asking about public discussion at 3/8 meeting and #700 and #701.

2;40 PM

Now discussing legal ad for budget as published in Jackson Independent. Asking why he disagreed with 700, says he disagreed w/700, doubling salary.

2:45 PM

Asking Cruise did he attend many meetings, he says he attended when Zuber was mayor. Asks Cruise about public hearing prior to council meeting. Cruise says he was at public hearing.

2:55 PM

Cruise agrees that council are the ones who vote on the issue. Asked why he objected, says the mayor didn’t deserve doubling salary.

3:00 PM

Now asking about harm to Cruise. Culpepper objection upheld. Scott asking why object to budget. Says it allowed raise. Asked if he had talked to Lege auditor. No.

Culpepper now asking if he taxpayer, resident, etc. Yes.

3:05 PM

James Schmidt now up. Asking if he attended meetings regularly. Yes. Asking why didn’t sue council members prior to this year. Schmidt says concerned about 700, as town can’t tell how much money it has.

Scott asking about February lawsuit. Schmidt says similar, but not same.

3:15 PM

Scott talking about public hearing. Asking did he give suggests as to budget or salary and why not. Says he did not have up to date information. Scott asks if he agrees council has authority to vote on budget. Yes.

3:30 PM

Don Essmeir called. Asked if he has been attending meetings for past few months. Yes. Aware of ordinances for 3/8 mtg. Asking about February suit and conditions for settlement. Scott asking about amendment process.

3:40 PM

Scott asking about public participation in public hearings for 700. Asking Essmeir challenge to 700 was to eliminate 701. No.
Asks why object to mayor salary. Says hard to justify with bad audits.

3:45 PM

Judge noting that 700 does not have word “amendment” in budget. Discussion of two budgets in one year.

3:50 PM

Now talking about amendment to 700 at 3/8 meeting. Asking if lawsuit an attempt to weaken Thompson for Essmeier to run against Thompson. Objection sustained.

3:55 PM

Culpepper asking if taxpayer, resident, etc. Yes to all.

4:00 PM.

Culpepper asking about publication, prior notice of amendment to 700. Culpepper mentions federal grants for airport. Asking if he was aware of the many amendment changes. Answer no.

Scott on re-direct. Asking if there was discussion among council on amendment. He couldn’t tell. Asking if mayor has right to modify budgets. Asking if income can change. Says doesn’t know where income came from.

Recesss until June 21, 9:30 AM.

26 Responses to “Live Blog of Jonesboro Hearing”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    knew it – there was no case and it was awaste of valuable court time!!

    • gsu Says:

      Whatever,we see

      • Augusta Duffer Says:

        The mayor and his ace defense attorney should be made to reimburse the Town for this waste of time and resources. Once again, he has done nothing but waste our money.

        GSU, you have ran out of time to present any real facts on the past administration. We will now proceed with the daily assualt of facts that show how badly the Town is currently being managed by the mayor and his cronies.

        • Concerned Says:

          Your money was wasted when this b/s lawsuit was filed. In the end, hundreds of thousands of dollars will have been spent to sue someone who gave themselves an approximately 25 to 30 thousand dollar annual salary increase. Was it worth it?

  2. crossfire Says:

    I’m just so worried thinking about those “Black Panthers” showing up in Jonesboro today. I hope they don’t come. They really scare me. ROFLMAO!!!!

  3. Former Resident c/o 2000 Says:

    Defendants are grasping at straws trying to buy whatever time they can before JAIL or HEAVY FINES Out of their own pockets!!!!

  4. Interesting Says:

    Hotel for the town? Really? I hope the sheriff adds this to his investigation and makes him provide proof and even calls the “hotel” to come and testify.
    I think by bringing this into it, the mayor has opened another can of worms for himself.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    were they saying she was reimbursed $176K ???

    • Interesting Says:

      No. They were asking about miscellaneous reimbursements showing on the town numbers and whether she knew what they were.

  6. Charlotte Garrett Guidroz Says:

    Thanks Walter!

  7. Anonymous Says:

    i believe that i saw on lpol that she abstained from voting

  8. crossfire Says:

    Thanks Walter for giving up your time to provide us with coverage of the trial. You are doing an awesome job and we appreciate you.

  9. sunrisesunset Says:

    gsu:

    You sound a little “itsy bitsy” discouraged now. The truth will prevail, and you will be proven WRONG.

    Now, let’s carry on with the Sheriff’s investigation. I agree with Interesting, bring the person into court that the esteemed mayor says he went to Texas to see about a hotel for Jonesboro. If he wanted to get a hotel, why could he not go to Winnfield and talk with the owners of the new one there about putting one in Jonesboro. Of course, we all know Thompson told a big LIE on this one. Typical!!!!

  10. Justme Says:

    Oh my Gish what a frickin soap opera. I realize it has to be due process I’d the law and this takes time, but meanwhile HE and his administration continues to spend and transfer funds into accounts, willy nilly, with no one to keep them in line. With no budget, I guess you can just decide to buy or spend the money on whatever you want to. If you don’t want anyone to be able to see where the money went, just throw away the receipt – or tell the Company “I don’t need a receipt”. Can’t something be done immediately to FREEZE the accounts (what’s left) to at least keep what’s left from being frivolously spent??

  11. Anonymous Says:

    lets reflect
    lowered fire rating
    lowered property values
    mayor and board Criminal investigations
    cut off from fed monies – bad or no audits
    possible criminal land deal
    tell me again why anyone other than a low-renter would move to J’boro

  12. sunrisesunset Says:

    Anonymous:

    You are correct. No one else of any moral character, or respectable business person would even THINK of MOVING inside Jonesboro city limits. There is nothing IN Jonesboro to move here for. As well, that is true with all the surrounding small town communities. Everyone is leaving….or at least those that can are moving out. The only difference between Jonesboro, and say, Arcadia, or Winnfield, is that there is not ANY corruption at their Town Halls.

    If there is no justice when this case is said and done, then there will NEVER be any justice for Jonesboro.

    • Nosey Rosey Says:

      And what a sad day that would be just because the officials that can do something about this won’t! Sad, sad indeed.

  13. LoveLouisiana Says:

    I grew up in Hodge when Ed Askew was mayor and L.O. “Pop” Tait was mayor of Jonesboro. There was never even a hint of corruption or a scandal of any sort. If I could, I’d move to Jonesboro tomorrow and join those trying to expose and stop the obvious corruption going on there. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that something terribly wrong is going on in the Town Hall of Jonesboro! Perhaps it would help solve the problems if more concerned people moved back to Jonesboro and helped clean up the mess by voting and becoming involved in local politics with actions and not words. I am not criticizing anyone…just stating an opinion.

  14. StandUpAndBeCounted Says:

    LoveLouisiana and others,

    I don’t live in Jonesboro any longer but I have and will send more money to help cover the cost of these three gentlemen’s legal expenses. It took guts and money to file this suit as well as the prior suit and I pledge my $upport to them. Anyone who wants can help by sending a donation to help cover legal expenses to:

    Culpepper & Carroll PLLC
    525 E Court St
    Jonesboro, LA 71251

    Notate on your donation Town of Jonesboro Suit. Let’s get behind these guys with more than words but with action also. They do appreciate your support,

    • BLACK PANTHER MEMBER Says:

      I guess u are just like those 3 men,so i take u are a klanman’s (kkk)as well,so u need to be expose also,and u will,alone with culpepper.

      • Mr Smith Says:

        Please learn correct punctuation dear “GSU” idiot. Your not fooling anyone with that black panther crap.

      • Nosey Rosey Says:

        To Black Panther Member (yeah, I’ll bet) — you’re the same illiterate person who regularly writes on this blog. You still haven’t learned to write and use the English language properly. You evidently learned nothing in school which would explain your stupidity. I’ve got an idea: why not let someone else who has proper use of the American language sit beside you while you tell them what to write on this website. Then you wouldn’t look like such an idiot!!

  15. sunrisesunset Says:

    Black Panther Member:

    I believe you and “gsu” are one and the same! You write, spell and make the same grammatical errors.

    You are shameful!

    Oh, I had my white horse all saddled up and ready to get out of town, but I never did see the “Black Panthers” in Jonesboro on Friday as you said. What happened? hehehe!

  16. LoveLouisiana Says:

    StandUpAndBeCounted,

    Thank you for the suggestion to help defray the legal expenses of the three men who brought this lawsuit in an effort to restore Jonesboro to its’ former place of prominence. I realize that things are going to change with time, but I do believe that had these two comments been followed, some of the present problems would have been avoided. Edmund Burke said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Thomas Jefferson said, “Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God”, and if you look up the definition of tyrant, you will find we have more than our share of tyrants in government today.

    My check to Culpepper and Carroll will be in the mail Tuesday morning!

  17. LoveLouisiana2 Says:

    “Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God”, and if you look up the definition of tyrant, you will find we have more than our share of tyrants in government today.” I totally agree, you just forgot to add (LOCAL GOVERNMENT).

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